Our saga continues with what I call "NMIL's Apartment Fiasco." It took four months, and one HUGE lie, for me to See everything I needed to see about DH's wicked mother. After all the minor red flags that were raised in the first few months that DH and I were dating, this was the Big One and I feel it finalized the drawing of this woman in my head. Where once I had a hazy outline of the Monster, the apartment fiasco solidified the edges and NMIL took her true shape. In DH's family, these types of things are quickly forgiven and forgotten. Not so where I come from - I have a nose for deception. I smell lies like shit on a shoe...and this was not shit I could ignore, however much DH wanted me to.
After sharing our pregnancy news with our families, DH and I began our search for an apartment. Although DH was renting an in-law apartment from his Naunt, we weren't entirely sure we wanted to stay there because it wasn't as spacious as we would have liked, given the circumstances and our growing family. I was living at home with my parents after having moved out of an apartment with my N ex-roommate in 2008 (more on that story later). It didn't take long for NMIL to dangle a carrot under our noses, with her offer of an apartment. I can't say enough, looking back on all of it now, how truly insidious her motives must have been. I know, I'll never know what her intentions really were, and she'll never be honest about them. But with the power of hindsight, I can easily see that her offer to "help" was more a show then a genuine desire to make things easier for us. To an outside observer, and perhaps to someone who isn't well-versed in the ways of Narcs, her "help" might have seemed genuine. But if we are to take a step back, look at the circumstances under which the "help" was being offered, and really pick apart the details, her actions give some really important clues as to what her true motivations were.
Fact: The apartment she wanted to rent us was the top story of a house she owns and runs her business out of.
Fact: This apartment is also located in her home town, which is at least a forty-five minute drive from my FOO.
Fact: The apartment was quite a bit larger than the one DH was currently living in.
Fact: NMIL took us out to breakfast to tell us that we could live in the apartment rent free for several months (never indicating exactly how long "a few months" even meant, thereby keeping the details vague).
Fact: We offered to pay her $400 a month because we didn't want to take advantage of her and felt it was only right to pay rent, even though she was offering we live there for free. She agreed to our terms.
Fact: DH and I went not once, but twice, to see the apartment and I fell in love with it. The house was old and charming and felt like a dream-come-true. Even though it was far away from my FOO, I couldn't help but feel that we'd never be able to beat the price anywhere else, and that was enough reason, in my mind, to move out of arm's reach of my loved ones. There was even a cute park located a stones throw away from the apartment, with little kid swings and a big slide. I had my heart set on moving in to this cute red house, with it's old shutters and winding staircase.
Fact: NMIL's best friend - the very same best friend she just had to text her son's pregnancy news to - already lived in that apartment. We were promised that she'd be moving out "soon."
Fact: We were desperately excited to move in and to really start our lives together. We wanted to set up the apartment and get everything ready for the baby we'd be having in just a few month's time. We felt pressed for time because there was a lot of work to be done before the birth of our baby.
So, Dear Reader, does anything seem at all amiss about the facts I have just presented so far? Perhaps not yet, but please allow me to delve a bit deeper. What could be the motivation behind this woman wanting us to move in to an apartment so close to her? Not only was it close to her house, she worked right down the stairs. Let's look at possible motivations for this: 1. NMIL genuinely wanted to help us and knew that, were we close, she could offer her aid whenever we needed it. 2. She wanted her son to remain under her thumb and she recognized that physical distance would pose a threat to that control. 3. She lives by the motto, "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer." I'll give you one guess who her enemy in all of this is. Okay, so again, perhaps we don't have enough circumstantial evidence, as proof of her motives.
Let's keep going. Why might it suit NMIL for me to be far away from my FOO? Possible motives: 1. She honestly believed she could be of more help to us than my family. 2. She knew, based on what kind of person I am, that my FOO would be similar - strong, demanding of respect, intelligent, honest, and compassionate. All of the things she didn't want her Dear Doormat Son to be around, because it would threaten the control she had over him his whole life. 3. She wanted us to struggle and knew that physical distance from my FOO would make it harder to receive the help they would offer us.
Do we need more evidence? Please, allow me to present you with more facts.
Fact: After NMIL told us, on several occasions, that we would be paying $400 a month to live in her apartment, we learned that it was a blatant lie. Naunt informed DH, via email, that she was surprised we wanted to live in NMIL's apartment, given that we'd be paying so much more than what we'd be paying if we stayed at HER apartment instead. Lest we get too ahead of ourselves and think that Naunt might have been operating under pure motives, let me assure you, she was merely stirring the pot. Her part in this mess is just as insidious (more on that in the next post).
Fact: When DH confronted NMIL, telling her that he felt he had been deceived, she reluctantly began to share more information about how much we'd ACTUALLY be paying if we lived in her apartment. There was never a final number because she only ever spoke in vague generalities. However, the general idea of a number was over $1,000 a month, which we could not afford, with the added possibility of that number being raised indefinitely. During all our talk about price, she also "forgot" to mention that there was potential she would have be selling the property to the company that had bought our her business, thereby releasing control of the rent to them.
Fact: We were never given a definite answer about when NMIL's friend would be moving out of the apartment, or if it was really going to happen at all.
Fact: Any of the times DH texted, emailed, or called his mother about the status of the apartment (i.e when NMIL's friend would be moving out, when we could move in, etc) his attempts at communication were ignored. Remember though, NMIL is a woman who texted her way through an entire meal, in which she was supposed to be getting to know her son's girlfriend (whom he was genuinely crazy about). NMIL is not a woman who doesn't get your communications...unless, of course, she doesn't WANT to get them. No, this is a woman who is not without her cell phone, ever. As soon as you hit "send," believe me, she's gotten your damn message.
Dear Reader, do you still need more? I can provide it for you!
Let's look at the emails that went back and forth between DH and NMIL, after he exposed her lies.
Fri, May 29, 2009
I love you very much and have always supported you both personally and financially. What you are going through now is a HUGE deal and you have become short and demanding to both Naunt and to me. And today on text you were terribly unkind. I have respected you and your opinions and thoughts throughout this ordeal and you insulted me today. Even if there was a communication error on either of side, mine or yours, that is no reason to disrespect me and say I was “playing” you. You would have to assume I know what you don’t know and that is impossible. Like I told you before, you have some big decisions and issues and you shouldn’t treat those around you as though they put you in a bad situation. I have supported you since minute one and you have lashed out at me several times already. I am so upset at how you are treating me and I don’t understand it. We have such a good relationship and I feel like you are taking advantage of mine and Naunt's support. I feel like you are trying to make Jonsi happy at the cost of those around you that are trying to help you. Not saying she is making you do that, it’s your actions that are reflecting that.
You and Jonsi are responsible for your lives and the baby’s life and that means figuring out the money situation before you get excited about moving. Maybe you should stay at Naunt's apartment until the baby is born as it is much more affordable for you and perhaps you can save money that you will so desperately need after it’s born. This is a very adult situation and you need to handle it as such. Weigh the monetary issues – rent, utilities, gas, furniture – and see what you can afford. If you are strapped now, it doesn’t get better after the baby is born. Diapers, formula, babywipes, doctor appts, car seats, bath stuff -it all gets very expensive.
I am not drowning in money here DH. The divorce was costly and the economy has drained my accounts considerably. I don’t have the disposable income I used to have and remember last year I did not take a salary for 6 months. You know I will help you, but you also have to understand the real costs of this new life you are entering into. Also keep in mind as I told you earlier that if partnering business doesn’t renew the lease here for NMIL's Co. in December, and NMIL's Co. has to move, the mortgage is no longer covered and I can’t afford that you only pay $500 a month rent. These are all real issues we both have to deal with.
I love you and we can talk more about this tomorrow.
Fri, May 29, 2009
I will say that you did not tell me anything about the partnering business ordeal. The only thing I knew about partnering business [was] that you had merged. You told both Jonsi and I that your company pays the rent on the house and you would let us stay there rent free should we need it. We then said that was ridiculous and we want to pay you something and we said like 400 to start and you said fine. You did not mention utilities, and I had no idea what it would be like since it was a house and not really an apartment. Jonsi was under the same impression, so perhaps you should have been more forward about that. I did feel like you weren't honest with us since this came after I had to bring it up. I understand that you love and support me, but perhaps you should think before you offer us something like that. Especially when we're in dire need of space. This is a huge deal which is why we were so quick to jump as you offered us a huge helping hand. Were you to give us all the information it would be different.
I am not attacking Naunt, you leave her out of this. I am indeed trying to make Jonsi happy. That is what husbands-to-be do. Please do not tell me otherwise. I have learned what I want to be and what I don't want to be observing your relationships and my father's. Perhaps there are times I get upset, but I am not taking advantage of anyone. Go ahead, tell Naunt that I am, but you're digging yourself a hole, not me. You also should not put words in Naunt's mouth and if she's got something to say to me, then she will say it. She doesn't need you to talk to me about anything. I live right next door for goodness sakes. I am not yelling at you now, nor was I via text. If were talking in person I would have been very calm about it. Granted I am very disappointed that we will not be able to move in now, and the reason I was disappointed in you (which you have said that to be in the past so I don't understand why it doesn't work both ways, I am an adult and entitled to my opinions and emotions AND I never questioned our relationship when you said it to me) was because you lead us to believe we could move in soon and save MORE money than if we stayed next to Naunt. I don't know why you would do that especially since we have such a good relationship. I would have thought you would have provided us with everything we needed to know.
I think I repeated some things but anyway, I realize you're hurting for money. I didn't realize to what extent though. I'm not asking for a freebie here. Why would I, that's stupid to assume. As it looks now, it's not a good idea for us to move in there now, since we will be paying more and there's a chance rent could skyrocket at the end of the year.
I guess Jonsi and I will get back to you later.
Friday, May 29, 2009
Also, let me not forget to say that I do love you Mom and I just didn't like being let down like that.
On Fri, May 29, 2009
I agree with you – maybe we are both feeling the same way. I love you too honey.
How about if you come over first thing in the morning tomorrow and we chat? Or meet halfway for coffee?
Friday, May 29, 2009
Sure. I have to get my car washed, pick up my cleaners, and I'll head up there. I'm playing ball with a friend anyway in the morning and I have to drop off some stuff at another friend's house.
I will say that there is a chance we will have to stay in Naunt's apartment for the time being. But I still have to talk to Jonsi.
Fri, May 29, 2009
Well maybe that is the best thing - I always thought it was a better idea to wait after the baby was born anyway. We will talk more in the morning though. Love you.
Friday, May 29, 2009
Yes. Talk soon. Love you too.
Fri, May 29, 2009
And honey I never led you to believe you could move in soon – you got excited about it and you wanted it to become a reality. There is nothing wrong with getting excited but I just don’t want you to think things that perhaps were misconstrued. Remember there are two sides to this – for example you didn’t know you had to pay utilities and I didn’t know that you thought you didn’t have to. I wouldn’t assume you thought NMIL's Co. would be paying your cable bill right? I was not dishonest with you, but I agree there was a communication breakdown on both our parts.
I told you the thing about partnering business and the lease on the phone that morning we originally talked about it and that is why I originally said for after the baby is born – but I do understand that we talked about a bunch of things and perhaps it didn’t click. There is a lot on your mind rightfully so.
And one last point….the ironic thing is that you are doing something very similar with Jonsi that I did with J – go to great lengths to make someone happy no matter what the cost. J didn’t make me do that – I chose it and obviously it didn’t work out that well. Balance is very important - I even mentioned that to both of you at breakfast that morning. If anything, I hope that you learned a healthy balance is important in a relationship. I know you love Jonsi and that is not the issue at all.
I love you lots and lots still.
Oh, but doesn't it ring true, Dear Reader, how the truth is in the details?
Let's take it apart, step by step.
I have respected you and your opinions and thoughts throughout this ordeal and you insulted me today.
This ordeal? What ordeal, NMIL? Why would you be referring to our pregnancy as an "ordeal?" I realize that DH was a bit more nervous about it than I ever was, but he and I talked about it many times and it was never something we described as an "ordeal." Oh, could it have been an ordeal for you, because you were so afraid of your son's happiness? So afraid that Jonsi had come to take away your precious doormat that you couldn't be happy for him and saw only the threat of loss? You could play your word games, and say the "this" you were referring to was something else - perhaps our search for an apartment, or our financial troubles - but between you and I, Mommy Dearest, I'm well aware that those are not the "ordeals" you are referencing.
...you have some big decisions and issues and you shouldn’t treat those around you as though they put you in a bad situation.
Again, with the not-so-subtle, barely concealed, insinuations about how you really felt concerning DH's growing FOC. This is what I see: DH the ISSUE of your wife and unborn child is really a BAD SITUATION for you to be in. So, even though I have lied to you, while attempting to sabotage your new relationship and future family, don't blame me for whatever shit ends up happening as a result of those lies.
NMIL's emails are filled with distortions, guilt-peddling, and manipulations. She tells DH that he was "unkind" because he called out her lies. She starts off her email diatribe by saying that she has "always supported him," as though that gives her a right to lie and hurt him. She claims the "lies" were not really lies because someone (DH, really) misunderstood and miscommunicated. She calls him stupid when she says he presupposed something about her intentions. She tells him he's taking advantage - how? We offered to pay her rent when she said we could live there for free. She brilliantly insinuates that I am making him treat others poorly in order to get what I want, and then out the other side of her mouth, says she's not insinuating that at all. She offers that it is wrong to want to make someone happy, unless, of course, it's HER. She treats him like a child, explaining to him about how he'll need to make "adult decisions" and think about the new life he's bringing into the world. As though all the decisions we were making were NOT based on the needs of our growing family. She pawns off her deceptions on the weak argument that she doesn't have any money and "suddenly" can't afford for us to pay the monthly rent that she had agreed on. She implies that SHE has been let down because DH has been so, so horrible to her. She talks about our relationship and choices as though she should have a say in them, even going so far as to offer her unrequested advice concerning where and how we should live. She continues to lie about lying, and never admits to any wrong-doing. Her crazy making is apparent through-out, as she so condescendingly tells DH that "he must have forgotten" the information she had already shared with him. She tells him that I am making him behave a certain way, she implies that it's all my fault, and soothes him with the unspoken promise that, if I just go away, things can get back to normal and she will love him again. She finishes off her email by mentioning how she went to "such great lengths" to appease her second ex-husband that they ended up divorced.
She cheated on her second ex-husband.
DH found out about it when he found her chats with whatever loverboy she was having an affair with, on DH's computer. If those are the "great lengths" she went to to ensure her second husband's happiness, and she actually believes that such a story is an accurate indication of "balance" in a relationship, then her advice to DH was just as fucked up as I always believed.
Would she lie to us? Absolutely.
**Title credit - Would I Lie to You
by the Eurythmics